South Alabama vs. Southern Miss Pick
College football returns on Thursday night with a couple of matchups, including a Conference USA tilt between South Alabama and Southern Miss. What’s the best play for bettors in this season-opening matchup of conference foes?
Game Snap Shot
Who: South Alabama (0-0) at Southern Miss (0-0)
What: College Football Week 1 Regular Season
Where: M.M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS
When: 9:00 p.m. ET, Thursday, September 3, 2020
Betting Odds: Southern Miss -13.5; O/U 54.5 (Also check out our NCAAF Public Betting Page)
South Alabama Game Notes
The Jaguars finished the 2019 season with a 2-10 record thanks partly to a dubious 1-3 record in games decided by 10 points or fewer. But they finally found some offense late in the year when Desmond Trotter took over at quarterback. Now back as the full-time starter in his redshirt sophomore season, Trotter will look to pick up where he left off in a season-ending win over a bowl-bound Arkansas State team last season. Trotter threw for 279 yards and four touchdowns in that game and ran for another 58 yards.
Southern Miss Game Notes
The Golden Eagles are coming off their fifth straight winning season, and star quarterback Jack Abraham is returning to lead the team once again. Abraham threw for 3,496 yards last season and even cobbled together respectable outings in losses to SEC foes Mississippi State and Alabama. But it's not all roses for Southern Miss. For one, the lack of spring practice kept the team from a getting an early grasp on the systems of new coordinators on both sides of the ball. The Golden Eagles also received bad news in preseason camp when four key players announced their plans to opt out of the season and transfer. Southern Miss still has a decent bit of continuity under fifth-year coach Jay Hopson, but there are plenty of questions, too.
South Alabama vs. Southern Miss Prediction
Nothing was normal about this offseason for any college football program and the ones like Southern Miss that installed new systems with new coordinators on both sides of the ball will likely suffer the most. Without the normal amount of time allotted to practice, I don’t see how a team like the Golden Eagles can step onto the field Week 1 and dominant an opponent – any opponent – when they didn’t have the reps to perfect their timing in practice (and that goes for both sides of the ball).
Is Southern Miss the more talented team? Yes, and that will be on display at times tonight. But one defender being out of position or one miscue on offense could lead to a score for South Alabama and the Jaguars could stay within two touchdowns. Granted, it’s not as if South Alabama had an abundance of practice time either but at least there’s some familiarity with the coaching staff. I like the Jags to keep things relatively close at M.M. Roberts Stadium tonight.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 1 PREDICTION: SOUTH ALABAMA +13.5